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Mereseini Rakuita: From a girl by the sea to SPC's Principal Strategic Lead

Submitted by JBerrell on Thu, 24/11/2022 - 13:22
English

Written by Sian Rolls for the Women In Fisheries Information Bulletin Issue 36, September 2022, available online: http://bit.ly/WIF36(link is external)

 

In a village by the deep blue waters of Natewa Bay, a loving mother and father sowed the seed of equality in their home.  

Mereseini Rakuita grew up playing in the ocean, collecting firewood and coconuts, and eating pawpaw and oranges fresh from the plantation.  

“Growing up in a coastal community, I got to see on a daily basis how my mum and aunts and grandmothers would go out to the shore to put food on the table.” 

“My mother grew up in a setting with clearly demarcated gender roles, but was applying gender equality principles without me realising at the time. She’d make sure that if I wash my dishes, my brothers do too; if one of us is late home, girl or boy, your food is kept; you mess up, you get a telling off just like your brothers – you don’t get your hair cut off just because you’re a girl.” 

This early demonstration of equality in the home despite a prevailing patriarchal culture, ingrained a standard of behaviour that has guided Mereseini’s life journey.  

“A lot of times we undervalue our upbringing and how that shapes the person that you become later on in life – the roles that you take up and how that upbringing impacts on how you see things at work.” 

From the seaside, the family moved around the country as civil servants often do – from the Northern Island of Fiji, Vanua Levu, to the Western Division and then to the capital city.  

“I spent a few years in different towns around Fiji and that gave me an opportunity to befriend children from other cultures – giving me an insight on the different circumstances and lived experiences of different families that shaped my thinking around issues that I got to deal with as an adult. I had a great upbringing, with great parents who taught me the value of hard work, of commitment, and of achieving the things you put your mind to. But also empathy, compassion and basic human decency that’s needed in every place that we serve.” 

And service was indeed her guiding star – after finishing legal studies, there was no question of where to next. 

“My father used to take me to his office and as a little girl, I’d walk in and tell myself ‘I want to work in an office like this’. I didn’t know what work I wanted to do – but moving from town to town and following my dad around communities really inspired me to venture into the public sector to serve people.” 

Mereseini joined the ranks of the civil service on the precipice of change. After joining, many senior staff were retiring and leaving positions open to younger civil servants to take up leadership.  

“Many of my mentors retired; opening a window of opportunity for me and my colleagues. As a young woman lawyer being promoted to a senior position made me realise I had the capacity to perform the role, but I may not necessarily have had the opportunity otherwise. With capacities, it doesn’t have to do with gender or age – but back in my early civil service days my workplace was a boy’s club and getting into that space wasn’t easy.” 

The issue, she says, was not a malicious one. It was, simply, gender blindness.  

“They’re all good people. I had great mentors who were men and women who taught me how to write a good legal opinion, but nobody was thinking about gender equality. No one was thinking about the impact of the gender blindness on policy, procedure or infrastructure.”  

This is part and parcel of Mereseini’s motivation to keep moving forward – from civil service to politics and now the Pacific Community (SPC) to make a change.  

As Principal Strategic Lead – Pacific Women, Mereseini stands shoulder-to-shoulder within the executive team within SPC. Reporting directly to the Director General, Dr Stuart Minchin, to elevate the importance of gender equality in the work of the whole organisation. 

“SPC is spearheading some great initiatives.” 

“The Women in Leadership programme is looking at women in the workplace; both for the professional setting but also considering the unpaid care economy and its impact on deliverables at work.” 

When considering equality in the workplace, Mereseini reflected on her own experience as a working mother. 

“My three children are my greatest achievement. My youngest is six years old. I had him when I was a government minister. I could bring the baby to the office and breastfeed during the day.” 

Acknowledging a level of privilege, she’s encouraged by recent developments at SPC like a creche for the Nabua Campus in Fiji. “I think every organisation should look into what they’re doing to support women, including those who may not yet be at a senior level – and I’m glad to see SPC leading the way on this.”  

Alongside the ‘internal’ work, the organisation is making great strides in advancing gender equality in sectors like fisheries. 

Mereseini knows the pressures of governments to meet their own gender equality commitments – she held the Ministry of Women, Children and Poverty Alleviation portfolio and travelled to Geneva as head of the delegation for the 69th session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 2018. In preparation for the questions from the Committee, she reviewed the available data to get a clear picture of the situation of women and girls in the country.  

Preparing for CEDAW was a ‘light bulb’ moment that cemented her lifelong commitment to gender equality in her career. The data confirmed and quantified vast gender disparities, highlighting the significant volume of work needed to address gender inequalities.  

“Looking at the statistics on labour force participation of women and gender-based violence really, really showed the amount of work and the type of work that had to be done. We could see the sectors that are ‘traditionally male oriented’ and overlook the contribution and role of women, like fisheries.” 

For example, Pacific women comprise 70–90 per cent of the tuna processing force but continue to face barriers to safety, transportation, managing the burden of unpaid care work in the home, and limited skills development and promotional activities.  

“By producing the gender disaggregated data and tools, it gives us the insight to further support Pacific Island Countries and Territories to tailor their policies accordingly – something that SPC has been doing for decades.” 

“For those working on the ground, there has been the development of tools and resources to support tailored application of gender as well as increased training facilitated through the Fisheries, Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems (FAME) and Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) divisions to mainstream gender in the policy and programming work of national fisheries agencies.” 

“Through FAME, there has also been a growing body of research on gender and fisheries through country assessments as well as pre-harvest and post-harvest fishing activities. The work of the latter unearthed the volume of work that women are doing that really solidifies the kind of work that I would see the women back home in Natewa Bay doing; they’re venturing into new roles in the harvesting, value-adding and marketing space and breaking resistant gender barriers. So, I’m also glad to see the FAME Aquaculture team supporting the women oyster fishers in the Rewa River Delta in Fiji, and enabling their greater market access and training to address health and safety aspects  for the safe consumption of wild oysters.” 

These initiatives are bringing to life the parallel work on strategies like the recent and first Pacific Framework for Action on scaling-up Community-based Fisheries Management (2021) and a key guiding regional fisheries instrument ‘A new song for coastal fisheries – pathways to change: The Noumea strategy’. Also underway is a gender equality, social inclusion and human rights handbook highlighting the social dimensions across on-and offshore operations, at port or in science and management in the tuna industry. 

With gender mainstreaming a significant priority for SPC as it moves to implement more integrated programming under the organisation’s Strategic Plan 2022–2031, this volume of work shows promise in existing initiatives and ways of working. To build on the successful work thus far, an ambitious task has been placed before Mereseini. 

“In my role, I’m looking across the whole organisation to see what we’re doing as an institution on gender equality. Then seeing where we as SPC need to go from here to sustainably mainstream gender equality as part of the people-centred approach to science, research and technology across the Sustainable Development Goals. It’s not something that can happen overnight. While we are doing this work, it must also be done properly. We need the right motive for substantive, sustainable change.” 

While there is an ambitious mandate and a large organisation in the midst of change in front of her, Mereseini is not one to fear complex challenges.  

She’s inspired daily by her mother and remains steadfast in her commitment to gender equality since those early days by the ocean. 

“I’ve got all this education she didn’t, what excuse do I have not to do the work?” 

“She was able to teach me all these great things. So, rooted in faith and the ultimate belief that nothing happens by accident, I don’t see roadblocks or challenges – I see stepping stones. Every time I look back at an issue I encountered or a challenge I overcame, I see that it was an opportunity for development, to work differently or to strategise – pushing my capacity to its limit.  

“So, for gender equality and the principles that surround it – it has to do with behaviour and how our minds are shaped, especially in the circumstances we find ourselves in. It’s not just something that can be taught in school or a workshop. It goes back to parents and how we raise our children.” 

My Guide to Voting Launch: Fiji Young Women’s Forum

Submitted by onorinas on Fri, 26/08/2022 - 16:37
English

My Guide to Voting (MG2V) , a youth friendly booklet aimed at empowering diverse young women to think critically about their right to vote and their role in Fiji’s democratic process was launched by the Fiji Young Women’s Forum (FYWF) in Suva this week.

“The MG2V booklet will be a helpful tool in guiding diverse young women when it comes to election day. It will ensure equal and meaningful participation of ALL women,” said Cleo Petra, a co-convenor with the House of Colours. House of Colours is a volunteer based LGBTQI+ advocacy organisation in Northern Viti Levu, Fiji.

The booklet encompasses voices of diverse young women from all over Fiji on how they want their future to be or better off, how they want the present to be. Diverse women's voices are vital for good governance and MG2V would be an important tool for it." she said.

The MG2V Booklet has been published with support from the Pacific Community (SPC), through a grant funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) as part of its US$19.8 million Promoting Just, Transparent and Civic Minded (PROJECT) Governance partnership programme. 

Women are underrepresented across various levels of decision-making spaces in Fiji, despite the fact they make up 49.3 percent of Fiji’s population. Half of Fiji’s population were recorded to be under the age of 27.5 according to the Fiji Bureau of Statistics 2017 Census Results. FYWF is concerned that young diverse women are not provided with meaningful and inclusive opportunities to contribute or be consulted with Fiji’s laws though young women make a majority in Fiji.

Prior to the launch of the booklet, the FYWF held three (3) divisional dialogues with women between the ages of 18 – 35 in the Western, Northern and Central Divisions, cumulating in the 2022 National Declaration representing young women’s challenges and strategies towards human security. The launch hosted a panel discussion by the co-conveners on strategies outlined in the national declaration followed by a question-and-answer session.

Dorrin Irvin, a co-convener with the Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni ELFA) says "It is critical that all the hard work put towards the FYWF National Declaration by the diverse young women in Fiji is recognized by the upcoming government".

At the launch USAID Deputy Chief of Mission Rebbeca Owen highlighted the importance of effective participation of young women and girls in all their diversities in community and political life which is essential to building a healthy, inclusive and democratic society.

“It is important that youths and in particular young women are enabled to actively participate in all decision-making at national, regional and international levels so that we can build a more democratic, inclusive and just society and the first step in achieving this is to empower young women to engage in their civic right to active citizenship by providing them essential information on voting and political participation of young women in Fiji’s elections process,” Owens said. 

“The My Guide to Voting booklet will go a long way in educating young women voters on their right to vote and the processes involved in order for them to exercise their right to political participation,” she added. 

Luisa Tuilau, femLINKpacific co-convener of the forum added that the booklet is an expression of young women’s commitment to their roles as voters and citizens of Fiji.

About Fiji Young Womens Forum FYWF is co-convened by the House of Colours, Emerging Leaders Forum Alumni (ELFA) and femLINKpacific and is provided secretariat support by the Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM). The FYWF builds on the initial Fiji Women’s Forum and a rich tradition of activism of Fijian women throughout Fiji’s national history. The FYWF is supported by the Australian Government through the We Rise Coalition.

Media Queries can be sent to:  [email protected] or Kalpana Prasad Nizarat on [email protected]

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Achieving gender equality is everybody’s business – first visit by international committee members to the Pacific a success

Submitted by SRolls on Fri, 22/07/2022 - 14:26
Publish Published
2022
English

Pictured (left to right): Mereseini Rakuita, SPC Principal Strategic Lead - Pacific Women; Bandana Rana and Natasha Stott Despoja, CEDAW Committee members.

15 July 2022

Suva, Fiji – Two leading global experts on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) visited the Pacific region for the first time this week, working with ten Pacific Island governments to help advance work to improve the lives of women and girls in the region.

Over three days, Bandana Rana from Nepal and Natasha Stott Despoja from Australia joined around 100 participants for the Pacific Government CEDAW Learning Exchange held from 12–14 July 2022.

The government delegates from Cook Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of the Marshall Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu enhanced their skills and knowledge to enable them to better report on and meet their agreed commitment to advance gender equality in the region – something expected of governments after ratification of treaties, such as CEDAW, at least every four years.

This exchange included the sharing of experiences, learning and examples of good practices by Pacific governments as well as through civil society organisations (CSOs) engagements –supported by the visiting experts.

“To find out where your gaps are, what needs to be done in the next 4 or 5 years - that’s what [the Committee] is doing.  This is a clear map, a clear strong mechanism, that every state party should feel is an asset for you, to strengthen you, to create that roadmap for you, for equality, peaceful and just society,” shared Ms Rana.

The CEDAW committee members heard a range of challenges experienced by Pacific Governments faced during regular reporting from the participants. Among these is finding resources, data and statistics and other information needed to show the progress made towards advancing gender equality.

“Gender equality – achieving it is everybody’s business. It’s not up to women, it’s up to all of us. I look forward to working with us all – men, women, boys, girls, non-binary and other people – in order to bring about a world, not just a region, in which gender equality is the norm,” added Ms Stott Despoja.

During her opening remarks, Heike Alefsen, Regional Representative of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner (OHCHR) Pacific Regional Office said, “ I would like to applaud those Pacific Island states that have been meeting their reporting obligations under CEDAW on time and I hope that through this learning exchange, other countries will be encouraged to submit all overdue reports to the CEDAW Committee and establish national mechanisms for reporting and follow ups to assist in their reporting obligations.”

Ms Rana and Ms Stott Despoja travelled to Fiji to participate in the Learning Exchange, with participants joining the event via in-person ‘learning hubs’ in their respective countries.

“By knowing and using the Convention, governments have a powerful tool to guide their policy-making and legislation to ensure that women can enjoy all of their human rights and fundamental freedoms; and for achieving gender equality. We are pleased to support this regional exchange, and thank SPC and OHCHR for their strong and ongoing partnership in working with Pacific Island Governments, CSOs and communities to promote gender equality,” said Melissa Stutsel, Officer in Charge, UN Women Fiji Multi-country Office.

“SPC remains dedicated to supporting member governments with national implementation of their human rights and gender equality commitments, and through this collaboration with our UN counterparts, we hope to see improvements in the lives of women and girls across the Pacific,” stated Miles Young, Director of the Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division of SPC.

The Pacific Government CEDAW Learning Exchange is supported by the Pacific Community (SPC), UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) and UN Women Fiji Multi Country Office (UN Women).

SPC’s support includes the Promoting Just, Engaged, Civic-minded and Transparent (PROJECT) Governance partnership between SPC and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Pacific Women Lead programme funded by Australia.

#IWD2022 CANDIDA IS ON A MISSION TO CHANGE HERSELF AND HER COMMUNITY

Publish Published
2022
English

To celebrate women in the Pacific we're sharing a series of Herstories of women and women's movements who have collectively struggled, lobbied, stood in solidarity and supported each other and survivors of violence against women, and triumphed. This is a story of Candida Kaious a woman leader who is the Project Coordinator of Weto in Mour at the Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI).  

Candida Kaious is Weto in Mour’s (WiM) Program Coordinator. She joined the service, which provides counselling and support to survivors of violence against women and girls in the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) in 2016.

Candida fell into the work by chance, having recently graduated from Marshall Islands College after three years spent teaching primary school . She had gone back to college in the hopes of securing a better paying job to support her young family. Candida initially joined WiM in a part-time role but quickly became passionate about her job – even turning down a better-paying government role as a data entry clerk.

“The more I learned about gender-based violence and gender inequality, and how our culture and beliefs are linked to violence, I then realised there needs to be change. I also realised that I need to change and that I want to give back to the community,” she said.

“That’s what made me stick with this work. Since then, I have changed how I think about gender differences, such as how people think they should behave and dress. It was not easy but I have tried hard have made a breakthrough.”

Candida joined WiM along with four other women, all in their thirties, and together they helped launch the country’s very first counselling service for survivors of violence against women and girls with funding and technical support from the Australian Government. This support continues through Pacific Women Lead, and formerly through Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women).

None of the women had prior knowledge about gender-based violence and the law so there was a steep learning curve. Besides learning on the job, they have benefited from working alongside Marshall Islands women’s rights pioneers like Daisy Alik Momotaro and Marie Maddison at WiM’s parent organisation Women United Together Marshall Islands (WUTMI).

Candida says there are  number of challenges in WiM’s work including the widely held belief that their work was somehow anti-culture, anti-religion and anti-men - stereotypes they continue to work hard to overcome. 

“When the program was new, people were saying that we were going was against our men, that we are trying to destroy our culture and customs. That what we were doing went against the bible. Through training, we’ve learned to provide appropriate culture-based responses.”

She and her fellow caseworkers employ Marshallese sayings that translate to ‘mothers as caretakers’ and ‘men’s need to protect mothers’ alongside contemporary readings of the bible to make the case for greater equality between women and men.

Candida has taken the time to talk about gender with her father, a pastor, and her husband who previously had traditional ideas about men and women’s roles. Today, they’re both proud and supportive of her work.

By leading a team of women her own age, she has acquired leadership skills.

“I’ve learned to be supportive and lead through example,’ she said.

“And not to think we can do everything ourselves. We need others to get things done.”

To young women leaders doing similar work in the region, she says it is worth sticking it out.

‘This work takes a lot of time and learning but don’t give up. Just seeing these women being empowered and free; there’s a wonderful feeling there.’[1]

ENDS

Read More: 

#IWD2022 CREATING SAFE SPACES FOR WOMEN IN CHUUK IS CRITICAL SAYS ELEANOR

Publish Published
2022
English

To celebrate women in the Pacific we're sharing a series of Herstories of women and women's movements who have collectively struggled, lobbied, stood in solidarity and supported each other and survivors of violence against women, and triumphed. This is a story of Eleanor Mori, a woman leader who is the Coordinator of Tongen Inepwineu Counseling Center (TICC) at the Chuuk Women's Council (CWC). 
 

Eleanor Mori is the Coordinator of Tongen Inepwineu Counseling Center (TICC), the first crisis support centre for women and girls in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). Prior to joining TICC, she worked at the Social Affairs Office providing services to elderly and aging citizens. A year into her new job, Eleanor says work at the centre is both challenging and eye-opening.

Seeing women and girls who come into the centre having experienced some form of abuse has fueled her passion for the work.

 ‘‘No child should feel afraid at home,’’ she said, adding: ‘‘A home should be safe. A mother should feel safe. When she is healthy and strong, she can take care of the kids and they grow up to be healthy and strong. When there is no violence in the home that family grows.’’

The establishment of TICC — initiated by the Chuuk Women’s Council (CWC) — has created a safe space where Chuukese women feel they can finally speak up, something that they are typically hesitant to do. Nationwide, one in every three women in FSM experience physical and/or sexual violence by a partner in their lifetime.[1]

‘‘Our women didn’t really like to talk about what goes on in their relationships and it has been a process to win their trust. Now, when they see TICC staff in their communities, they are more open and talk to us about anything.’'

 The centre’s work is being taken seriously by authorities.

 Where previously three witness statements were needed in addition to the centre’s case report before making its final way to the Attorney-General’s Office for further processing, now the case report alone is enough to begin the investigation.

This is a significant achievement and support for TICC clients. This means survivors are not additionally or unnecessarily burdened. To aid in its work, TICC has established a network of 35 family champions throughout the main island with plans to recruit more in the outer islands. The champions, both young and old, refer clients to the centre and accompany them to counselling and referral services (such as medical, police or legal services) if needed. The family champions are TICC’s eyes and ears in the community.

The centre has trained health assistants (with access to dispensaries and transport) and plans to link them to family champions.

Eleanor’s vision for TICC’s future was recently achieved with the centre’s expansion to include phone counselling. Next, she hopes the centre may create a separate, dedicated space for greater client privacy, a day care centre and shelter, a gap TICC addresses by developing safety plans with clients, who choose a safe house and host family with TICC providing remote support.

‘‘This stuff doesn’t just happen between the hours of 8 to 5,’’ said Eleanor, adding: ‘‘That’s why we need a safe house where mothers can go for the night and stay longer if they need to.’’

Currently the only shelter that exists in Chuuk belongs to the Human Trafficking Division under the National Police.

 On her leadership style, Eleanor says it is all about ‘‘having mutual respect and faith in one another’’ that the assigned activities will be done.

Between TICC and CWC, there are women aged 20 to 60 and balancing the generation gap while providing space and opportunities for the younger women to flourish has been high on her agenda.

Launched in March 2020, TICC provides free, confidential counselling and referral support to survivors of domestic violence, rape, sexual harassment and child sexual abuse through trained safe counsellors.

The centre is part of the CWC, which has received funding and extensive on-going technical support from the Australian Government through the Pacific Women Lead formerly known as Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development Program. Tongen Inepwineu means ‘Love of the Family’ in Chuukese.

ENDS


[1][ FSM Family Health and Safety Study, 2014, FSM Department of Health and Social Affairs

One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.

Australia has committed AUD 170 million to the five-year programme, including through its partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division, women’s funds and other development partners.

HRSD Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of SPC’s regional work for gender equality, serving as secretariat to the Governance Board and providing technical, convening and funding support to government ministries, civil society and other partners.

For more information about the program’s design refer to the SPC HRSD website or the high-level design framework

 

Pacific Women Lead team starts work at Pacific Community (SPC)

Submitted by SRolls on Thu, 24/02/2022 - 08:55
Publish Published
2022
English

Pacific Women Lead has transitioned to the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division. With this transition, Pacific Women Lead is now at the centre of SPC’s regional work on gender equality.  

Several members of the new SPC HRSD Pacific Women Lead team have been recruited from the Support Unit of Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development (Pacific Women), which was the region’s former gender equality programme supported by Australia over 10 years.

The new programme’s onboarding of specialist staff from Pacific Women, has ensured continuity of funding and technical support to partners during the transition from the former programme to Pacific Women Lead.

During the transition, there is also a focus on capturing and sharing more than a decade of partners’ experiences from the former programme, to help guide Pacific Women Lead.

This includes the promotion and expansion of a new series of knowledge products garnering lessons learned, experiences, and gender transformative approaches from Pacific Women partners. The lessons learned and good practice contained in the knowledge products aim to guide future gender equality initiatives, including the implementation of Pacific Women Lead. They are available online through the Pacific Data Hub as a result of a dedicated knowledge management process.

This intentional transition approach has been guided by a principle of continuity of critical services. Supporting specialist staff to transition from Pacific Women to Pacific Women Lead has ensured uninterrupted technical and funding support to essential services, including many of the 15 Pacific crisis centre partners supported by the former programme.

As Pacific Women Lead began in 2021, the regional Pacific Women program closed with country-specific support in Papua New Guinea continuing in 2022. Pacific Women connected more than 190 partners and over 180 initiatives across 14 countries, making it one of the largest global commitments to gender equality.

Sharing knowledge  

The series of knowledge products capture and share lessons learned, experiences, and gender transformative approaches from many of its 192 partners over the life of the Pacific Women programme.

The series of knowledge products includes:

 

One of the largest global commitments to gender equality, Pacific Women Lead aims to promote women’s leadership, realise women’s rights, and increase the effectiveness of regional gender equality efforts.

Australia has committed AUD 170 million to the five-year programme, including through its partnerships with the Pacific Community (SPC) Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) division, women’s funds and other development partners.

HRSD Pacific Women Lead is at the centre of SPC’s regional work for gender equality, serving as secretariat to the Governance Board and providing technical, convening and funding support to government ministries, civil society and other partners.

For more information about the program’s design refer to the SPC HRSD website or the high-level design framework .

 

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East West Center part of the Blue Pacific Alliance under PROJECT Governance

Submitted by Admin on Mon, 27/09/2021 - 15:18
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2021
English

About the East-West Center

The East-West Center(link is external) promotes better relations and understanding among the United States, Asia and the Pacific through collaborative study, research, and dialogue. Across Asia and the Pacific Islands, and at our campuses in Honolulu and Washington DC, the Center hosts conferences, exchanges, and in-depth trainings for policymakers, educators, cultural and civil-society leaders, and entrepreneurs. The Center conducts multidisciplinary research on environmental issues, public health, demography, economic policy and geopolitics, and provides graduate degree fellowships for the next generation of leaders. The Center also hosts the Pacific Islands Development Program(link is external)—the focal point of EWC programming for Pacific nations, and the seat of the secretariat of the Pacific Islands Conference of Leaders.

EWC and PROJECT Governance

The East-West Center is proud to join SPC, IFES, and CARE as part of the Blue Pacific Alliance implementing PROJECT Governance. EWC will lead four mutually reinforcing activities focused on supporting financial-governance offices and officials across the region:

For more information about the East-West Center and PROJECT Governance, please contact us at [email protected].

New project to enhance cultural and creative industries in the Pacific

Submitted by Admin on Thu, 29/07/2021 - 11:44
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2021
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A new project aimed at increasing capacity and sustainability of cultural and creative industry initiatives in national economies has been recently launched by the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) – European Union Programme.

The Project titled “Enhancing capacity for the sustainability of Cultural and Creative Industries in the Pacific”(Pacific CCI)  is a 3-year project providing financial support, technical advice, mentoring and capacity building support to artists and cultural producers from the  Cook Islands, Fiji, Kiribati, Republic of Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

The project is implemented by the Pacific Community (SPC) in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with financial contribution of the EU and support of the Secretariat of the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States.

As part of the first phase of the project, an open call for expressions of interest (EOI) was made on June 12 for creatives, artists, cultural producers, local businesses, national culture and art agencies and institutions from the ACP-Pacific region.

According to Dr Frances Vaka’uta, Team Leader Culture for Development from SPC’s Human Rights and Social Development (HRSD) Division, the Pacific CCI project seeks to increase the contribution and recognition of the culture and creative sector to economic revenue and commercial engagement in the region through a grant scheme.

“This project recognises that Pacific arts and culture are unique and can make a significant contribution to national economies while developing sustainably to safeguard cultural practices and traditions for future generations and supporting creative innovation” Frances Vaka’uta said.

“So far we have received more than 400 submissions following Phase 1 of the EOI process (which closed on 11 July) from 15 targeted countries including Timor Leste,” she noted.

Frances Vaka’uta also explained that the first set of grantees will be selected specifically based on the grant scheme priorities such as the creation of high-quality goods and services; improved access to national, regional and international markets; increased visual literacy education and improved access to sustainable financing and reduction in dependency on international financing arrangements.

 She added that shortlisted applicants from the EOI process will be taken through information sharing sessions and a grant writing workshop before they submit their formal proposals for the grant scheme.

Associate Professor Verena Thomas, Team Leader of the collaborating team from Queensland University of Technology said that:

"This project is an opportunity to recognise the creative and cultural industries as key drivers for sustainable economies across the Pacific, to create stronger networks and to communicate the creative and cultural knowledge of the Pacific to the world. We are excited about working closely with artists, creative enterprises and institutions to explore our connections, share our experiences and learn from each other."

For more information on the Project, please visit here.

Media Contact:

Kalpana Nizarat, Communications and Visibility Officer, SPC HRSD | E: [email protected]

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